So for this week's Coffeehouse interview, I decided to go a bit of a different route; I took some of the grueling questions I have asked other authors and answered them myself! I figured this is a long overdue, yet less awkward introduction to me. If you have any other questions you would like me to answer, post a comment or reach out to me via email or Twitter.
Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
I am from Ontario, Canada, a little bit north of Toronto. Not close enough to be in the city, but not north enough to be in cottage country. Currently I am interning at one of the country's big banks, which has exposed me to everything from finance to charity work.
What inspires you to write?
I have always been in love with literature. I cannot remember a time that I did not enjoy reading, and that naturally evolved as my imagination and creativity grew with me. I have been fortunate enough to have a ridiculously active imagination, something that I know some people don't retain from when we were kids. Creating stories and breathing life into my imagination is an amazing feeling.
Where do you come up with your best ideas?
I don't necessarily have a surefire way. Sometimes they just come out of the blue! For example, I was recently just having a conversation during a walk with some people that moved onto the topic of things like butterflies, and how they go through an incredible metamorphosis from one stage to another. A concept for a story suddenly played out in my head, so I jotted it down. Other times, usually when I have a barebones idea, I will sit down and brainstorm – via a handful of techniques – how to flesh it out.
Are there any authors that have had a significant influence on you? How have they affected you?
There have been a good few, and some I probably have forgotten about. R.A. Salvatore has given the world some of the greatest characters I have ever read, especially his dark elf, Drizzt. Additionally, his writing of combat has had a massive influence on me. Adam Nevill has shown me just how terrifying books can be, and his attention to detail is fantastic. And, lately, Richard Kadrey has pushed me towards urban fantasy, which is coupled with his expert use of prose.
What other factors influence your writing?
This list could go on and on. Family, friends, video games, current events, movies, other stories. Basically anything can have, in one way or another, an influence on my creativity.
If you could have a conversation with one person, alive or dead, who would it be?
Not to be a cliché, but Abraham Lincoln. The man was an amazing leader and far ahead of his time in terms of human rights, which is a topic that is extremely important to me. I don't know what exactly I would ask him, but hopefully I could absorb some of his wisdom.
Do you have a preferred genre to read? To write? What draws you to this genre?
Fantasy is always my go-to, and I will never stop reading it. It was the first genre I ever tried my hand at writing. Horror and sci-fi are alsogenres I love to read, but have never endeavoured writing more than a short story. I don't tend to venture into too many other genres; writing appeals to me because of the endless possibilities that I can create.
What do you do to overcome writer's block?
Writer's block has crippled me for days before, I find it tough to find motivation again once you have been defeated by yourself. But recognizing this has allowed me to realize that it is just that: I am defeating myself. So I take a break, do something that can let my brain relax so it can harness those ideas again.
Have you noticed any difference between some of your early work and what you write now?
Undoubtedly. I have noticed differences between writing that I never shared, and writing I have made to be shared. I have noticed, when editing, differences in writing style between the beginning of my novel and the end of it. Your imagination is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more you start to use it in different ways, the more you start to apply different lenses to it. Writing is an ongoing learning process!
How do you know when a story is done?
This is definitely one of my weaknesses. I have been sitting on a finished novel for longer than I would like to admit. You can know it is done when the last chapter is written, but then there is the phase where you have to defeat yourself and put it out there. Then that story ends, and a new one begins.
What is your novel about?
My novel is titled Archangel, and is the first in a series of five. WIthout giving too much away, it takes place a decade after the forces of Heaven and Hell fought for the planet, and Hell won. Now the world is ruled by demons and other, more nefarious creatures. Humans are second class citizens and what few angels remain have been driven underground. The story follows the quest of an archangel, Uriel, who has finally been allowed to descend to Earth to save what is left of human and angels alike. I am still trying to figure out a release date for it, but rest assured that it will be preceded by some free chapters being posted on the blog!
What comes after Archangel?
I am over halfway done the rough draft of the sequel to Archangel, and hopefully I don't sit on it for as long as I did for the first one! I hope to at least have the rough draft done by January. Additionally, I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month, and penning at least 50,000 words for a novel in November. It's story is a tightly guarded (and still developing) secret.
How do you define success? In writing or in everyday life?
To me, the only measure of success is happiness. I live my life by that, and I believe that writing – both this blog and stories – contribute to my own happiness, and thus make me more successful. People may have different routes to happiness, but I do not believe there is any more important measure of success.
If you could give one message to other writers out there, what would it be?
There is an amazing community out there, embrace it. I went for so long thinking that this journey of mine was a solitary one, but I have quickly found out that I am wrong. They offer advice, tips, help, and a lot of humour, so don't let something like that pass you by!